Black Flags and Windmills: 1 of the top 5 books to read in 2011by Elizabeth DiNovella
The Progressive Magazine
December 21, 2011
crow is a long-term activist who shares the lessons he’s learned in organizing.
He and a few others founded the Common Ground Collective in New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. There’s a lot of trauma in NOLA, and that comes through in the book.
But you also get the sense that writing this book was healing for crow.
“I don’t tell a personal narrative to build myself up but to show that we can all do this,” he told me during a phone interview a few weeks ago. “I’m not trying to set myself up as a hero. I’m setting ourselves up to be heroes for each other.”
crow has been subjected to close scrutiny by the FBI. He requested his FBI file and received back 440 heavily-redacted pages. In 2006, he found out he was listed as a “domestic terrorist” due to his activism. He has been arrested in demonstrations but never charged with anything more than trespassing.
crow says the surveillance and ongoing criminalization of dissent is “an absolute farce. People like me are paper tigers. If you are going to have a war on terrorism, you need terrorists. Who are easy to find? Social activists.”
He knows that the FBI uses surveillance as a way to intimidate activists. “What everyone fears about surveillance, it’s happened to me, and I’m OK,” he says. “It hasn’t been pleasant. But I’m OK.”